Las Vegas’ annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival set to take over Sunset Park

Once again, knights, barbarians, Roman legionaries, elves and more pirates than you can shake a well-corseted bodice at will be invading Sunset Park, and park officials couldn’t be happier about it.

“It’s one of our most popular events every year,” said Brian Saliba, Clark County special events supervisor. “We’ve been doing it for a while now, and it pretty much goes off without a hitch now, and people really look forward to it.”

The Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 7 and 8 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 9 at Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road. The festival has been running since 1991 and many old favorites are set to return, including jousting by Warhorse Productions, the field of honor with armor tournaments, a grand melee and the parade through the fair. This year, the parade will move to the evening on Oct. 8, winding through much of the event and ending up at the field of honor in time for the masquerade ball and costume contest.

Local weatherman Nathan Tannenbaum is set to return as the fair’s king.

The Camp Sam-A-Lot Dinner Theater is to be featured this year for the second time. The renaissance buffet dinner and show is set to include barbecue pork, bratwurst with sauerkraut, corn, au gratin potatoes, Caesar salad and cobbler for dessert. The meal comes with soda or water, and wine and beer is set to be available for purchase.

“We have circus acts and musical groups, including the Whiskey Bards,” said Tina Christoffersen, one of the dinner’s organizers. “A lot of the performers are from Cirque du Soleil but working as independent performers for our show.”

Christoffersen plans to lower the admission price from $49 to $29 this year. The dinner benefits Camp Sam, a charity summer camp for adults with special needs.

Longtime performers, including the Black Irish Band, Bogtrotters Union and Beth Mullaney, are set to return. Mullaney is set to perform with two or three of her bands, including the popular local band Killian’s Angels.

The vendors and guilds of historical re-enactors are set to return along with comedy performers and animals acts and displays.

But this year, things might be a bit more piratical.

“We’re bringing in a lot of the games from Pirate Fest and ramping up the Pirate Village,” Saliba said. “We also have a group called Clan Darksail to provide some piratical entertainment.”

The full name of the group is The Royal French Privateers of Clan Darksail, and they call themselves pirates for hire. The nom de sword of their leader is too long to get into.

“The name I use in the group is The Marquis D’Gascoigne, Flottille Commandant, etc., etc., etc., so it’s simpler to just call me the guild master,” said the man who goes by the name of Richard Rasner when he isn’t swashbuckling. “We’re mostly a street improv group. We act in the street at ren faires, entertaining the customers by singing sea shanties, having sword fights and just talking to the customers in pirate-speak.”

The Victorville, Calif., resident created the group with several of his college friends nearly 20 years ago when they decided it would be fun to start a pirate group with the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group of historical re-enactors who focus on the Renaissance period.

“We portray French privateers of the 1660s,” Rasner said. “That’s sort of the historical bookmark we’re doing. There were just a few of us when we started, and now we have 150 to 200 active members. About 40 or 50 weeks a year, we’re doing the pirate thing. We also do TV shows, movies and commercials.”

The group’s credits include “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” and “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.” They also worked on a short promotional film for the video game “Assassin’s Creed IV.”

“When we’re not on the street, we’ll be in our tavern, singing shanties, sword fighting and teaching sword drills to visitors,” Rasner said. “We’ll be doing a stage show twice a day where we crown a new pirate king or queen, usually a small child from the audience.”


To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email or call 702-380-4532.

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